Magnus Dorsi—A Kettlebell Back Workout

This is one of the best back workouts you can do at home. You can do it with one kettlebell, or up to three if you have them.

I used two kettlebells in this workout, a 32kg and a 28kg. After a couple of rounds, I went down to 28kg for the rows but stuck with the 32kg for the shrugs. Let me run you through the workout:

  1. 2  x wide rows (90 degrees)
  2. 2 x hybrid rows (45 degrees)
  3. 2 x narrow rows (0 degrees)
  4. Repeat on the other side
  5. 6 x shrugs
  6. Repeat on the other side
  7. 6 x wide grip overhand pull-ups
    Use a TRX if you don’t have a bar at home (see further down)

Repeat for 5 to 6 rounds. I spend over an hour on the warm-up, workout, and mobility.

It’s a great back workout to use for drop sets, i.e. if you have heavy enough kettlebells, you can start with your heaviest, then drop to a lighter one each round.

There should be plenty of rest, you can rest after doing one side, after a set, but definitely rest after a round.

If you look at the video you’ll notice I adjust my stance for every 2 reps of the row. When going wide you need a good wide base, then in a bit for the hybrid, and feet close together for the narrow row. The degrees or distance is in relation from the elbow to the ribs, i.e. 90 degrees would be a 90-degree angle between the elbow and ribs.

The wide row requires progressing, so be careful, you might want to start with 6 narrow ones for a while, then include hybrid, then include the wide rows. The wide rows require good lat activation to protect the shoulders. You’ll also want to use a lighter weight for the wide rows if you’re just starting. Seriously, this angle is great to work from, but also dangerous for those who don’t have great MMC or are just starting out.

You need to first master the hip hinge before you attempt the bent over dead row, this is a must to protect your lower back.

If you find yourself curling the weight, that means you’re working your anterior and not your posterior as you should be. The weight is too heavy, don’t keep ego lifting, focus on your objective, working the posterior (back). The lower part of your arm should just hang, focus on your elbow, pull your elbow up.

The same principle applies to the pull-ups, pull your elbow down, focus on the lats, relax the lower part of your arm, it should do nothing else than hold on to the bar. If you’re having trouble connecting to your lats, check out the video I did for lat activation, also a great alternative if you can’t do pull-ups yet. Use resistance bands if you need assistance with the pull-up.

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